[Courtesy Petit Chef]
When you buy ground beef, stores charge more for meat with lower percentage of fat. If you are seeing a deal on ground beef, most likely you are looking at meat that is 80% lean or lower (i.e. 20% fat), compared to as much as 97% lean (3% fat) from the more expensive meat.
But rather than pay extra for leaner ground beef, you can buy the higher-fat meat and cook the fat out yourself, thus saving a few bucks in the process.
A study in the Journal of The American Dietetic Association showed that rinsing cooked ground beef crumbles could reduce fat by as much as 50%. Blotting also removes fat too.
Here’s how to reduce fat in ground beef, according to this paper (PDF):
Brown ground beef in skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until no longer pink. Stir occasionally to break beef into large pieces (about 1/4 inch).
Meanwhile microwave 4 cups water in 1-quart glass measuring cup or microwaveable bowl on HIGH 5 to 6 minutes or until very hot, but not boiling (150 to 160 degrees F).
Drain fat from skillet.
Using a slotted spoon, remove beef crumbles to large plate or other container lined with 3 layers of white, non-recycled paper towels. Let sit 1 minute; blot top of beef with more paper towels.
Place beef in a line mesh strainer or colander and set it on a 1/2-quart (or larger) sturdy bowl.
Pour hot water over beef to rinse fat. Drain 5 minutes.
Proceed as recipe directs.
Alternatively, you could skip the water and just blot the meat with a paper towel, which removes a great deal of fat too.
Well, for ground beef that is 73% lean, cooking a 3-ounce patty normally yields 248 calories and 18 grams of fat. When you cook the 3-ounce portion in beef crumbles (instead of a patty) and then blot, that drops even further to 195 calories and 12 grams of fat. And if you blot AND rinse the beef crumbles, the 3-ounce patty drops to only 135 calories and 6 grams of fat. That’s the equivalent of 94% lean ground beef.
I have drained and blotted meat, but I have never rinsed it with hot water. While I believe this works, it may also affect the taste of the meat, maybe drying it out or making it less flavorful overall. Because hey, fat tastes good.